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Re: Guideline 3.4 comment (ralative vs. absolute units)

From: Charles McCathieNevile <charles@w3.org>
Date: Wed, 26 Dec 2001 23:55:45 -0500 (EST)
To: Vadim Plessky <lucy-ples@mtu-net.ru>
cc: Kynn Bartlett <kynn-edapta@idyllmtn.com>, <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.30.0112142231560.2225-100000@tux.w3.org>
On Tue, 11 Dec 2001, Vadim Plessky wrote:

  If I created document in word processor, and it's A4 size - expected
  rendering of such document exported to HTML is A4-size page.

CMN I think that the expectation that proportions will be maintained is a bad
one - HTML is presented in varying sizes, and is noramlly reflowed to fit the
available space.

  yes, but it's up to userAgent (browser) to increase font size - or decrease
  A4 page to fit on 1024x768 screen.

  |   What kind of application do you envision in which the exact size is
  |   necessary and cannot be provided in percentages or em units?

  as I mentioned above, think of HTML Export filter for word processor.
  IIRC you define font size for each paragraph/style in _points_ (pt), not in
  terms of "bigger" or "smaller"

It is possible to provide styling direfct to elements, in terms of a point
size. It is possible to automatically convert those to a default size (which
is defined in most word processors) or to a percentage of the default size. I
think that is better than 'bigger' and 'smaller' becuase those are not
clearly defined in a useful way - implementing showed that the suggested
proportions were not appropiate for a number of use-cases.

  My concern here is compliance to Priority 2 checkpoint.
  I use 'pt' on my web site (http://kde2.newmail.ru) and frankly speaking have
  no problem with it.
  I believe most of my web site is pretty well accessible, and want to redesign
  it slightly (to be compliant with Triple-A or Double-A).
  But I have no intention to get rid of 'pt' font sizes. It's part of my
  original design ;-)
  So if we can't agree that using 'pt' is complaint with Priority 2 checkpoint
  for Guideline 3.4, I will postpone redesign of my site until we will be able
  to come to common conclusion. :-))

Fine, but how long it takes for your site to be better is not the basis on
which I decide whether to agree with something or not ;-)

  I can't agree with you that *fixed font sizes* set with "pt" reduce usability.
  They *improove* it, as they allow to overcome shortcomings of several
  widely-used platforms (Microsoft Windows, in particlular) or wrong settings
  (many XFree86 servers set in a wrong way, RedHat user have many complains on

In fact I would leave users' font sizes alone, and provide larger sizes as
porportional to the default. I hate the practise of making the main text
smaller than the default size. I don't care how cool it looks, I set my
default size as something I am comfortable reading, that gives me the maximum
screen space available. If some fool thinks that I should be reading things a
size smaller than is comfortable, then I will simply change the layout to
suit my needs again, and think that their layout skills are really

Likewise, I find it frustrating to have to deal with what someone thinks is
'the appropiate size' in points or some other absolute measure, for text. One
of the glories of the Web is that I don't have to put up with text-sizes that
are too large or too small. (Another is that I can normally find the same
content elsewhere ;-)


Received on Wednesday, 26 December 2001 23:55:54 UTC

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